Coming home from Stockholm, Sweden following a successful European SharePoint Conference brings an end to an extended travel period this fall, and a sharper focus on content and planning for 2016. While my travel schedule lightens up for a couple months (my next major conference is SPTechCon Austin at the end of February), the CollabTalk schedule of webisodes and tweetjams keeps on going.
For those new to the show, CollabTalk is a monthly web show on IT Unity co-hosted by four Microsoft MVPs: myself (@buckleyplanet), Naomi Moneypenny (@nmoneypenny), Benjamin Niaulin (@bniaulin), and Marc Anderson (@sympmarc). These shows are recorded, and soon after available through IT Unity and YouTube.
The November CollabTalk webisode was jam-packed with content, as today saw a number of announcements from Microsoft including SharePoint 2016 Beta 2, the general availability of the Microsoft Graph, the ability to enforce Office 365 identity in Yammer, and some additional announcement around productivity and archiving capabilities. And all of that on the heels of an ESPC keynote in Stockholm with Microsoft CVP Jeff Teper, Seth Patton, and Bill Baer. Lots to talk about in this show, for sure.
Here's what we focused on today:
- ESPC takeaways and Teper keynote
- Changes to the Office 365 Admin UI
- Delve "people experiences"
As always, this recap is a summary of my own thoughts and comments, and does not reflect everything covered within the webisode. If you'd like to hear more on each of these topics, I encourage you to watch the entire webisode by going to http://www.itunity.com/collabtalk or to the IT Unity site on YouTube. (Podcast options also coming soon.)
While not an official Microsoft event, the European SharePoint community was treated to a full Microsoft keynote with CVP Jeff Teper using the platform to share detail around what is coming to SharePoint, and the many areas in which Microsoft will be investing in the next 12 to 18 months. I really encourage you to take a look at Ben's post below, as he did a great job of snapping photos of many of the slides from Teper's keynote and providing details around Microsoft's short and long-term strategies for SharePoint.
Also of note is the fact that Teper talked about future versions of SharePoint on-prem, finally (hopefully) putting to rest the idea that Microsoft wanted to "kill" the platform. As Bill Baer has stated repeatedly, Microsoft will continue to build an on-prem version as long as customers want and need the platform.
And with today's announcement on the availability of SharePoint 2016 Beta 2, Dan and Spence penned an article (below) outlining in detail what is available with this final version before we see RTM sometime in the first half of next year. While the user experience doesn't change much from what we have with SharePoint 2013, the additions for hybrid and admin capabilities are fairly extensive. The article below is well worth the read.
SharePoint Is Back and Stronger than Ever, by Benjamin Niaulin
SharePoint 2016 Beta 2 Released, by Dan Holme and Spencer Harbar
Office 365 Admin UI
A topic I've covered extensively over the past couple years has been the evolution of the Admin UI in Office 365. Marc Anderson took the lead on the topic, sharing a quick demo and walk through of the First Release tenant, which is worth viewing if you have not yet been able to see it within your own Office 365 tenant. Microsoft has been working hard to improve the overall admin experience in O365 by streamlining operations, and by modernizing the interface. Much like the productivity enhancements and personalization changes in SharePoint Online, Microsoft is making the admin experience quick and easy to navigate, surfacing the most common tasks – and making the UI much more accessible.
Microsoft talked about changes to the Admin UI back in May in a blog post (Simplifying the Office 365 admin experience) but the platform has matured dramatically over the course of the year.
One of the areas that still could use some maturing is around cross-workload functionality. I mentioned this on the show as something that is easier said than done. Things like DLP (data loss prevention) operate differently in Exchange versus SharePoint, so creating a DLP policy across the two workloads does not make a lot of sense. However, I do feel that there are opportunities for Microsoft to create more reporting and compliance capabilities that move across multiple workloads. For example, identifying sensitive data across Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, or even Skype for Business conversations would be a powerful, platform-level control that organizations would use.
Delve People Experiences
For our third topic, Naomi led the discussion and provided a demo of the new and improved people experiences through Delve. Essentially, this is the new "MySite" capability, but more personalized and relevant to the user. By using the Office Graph (and soon the new Microsoft Graph) the site pulls in all relevant content to the user. Because it relies heavily on the Graph, this capability will be available in hybrid environments, but purely on-prem environments will be more limited. In fact, I haven't played with my own SP2016 demo environment to know much about what is available out of the box – so it's something I'll have to investigate further.
As with the Admin UI, the people experience in Office 365 has been modernized, with a focus around reducing the barriers to creating and sharing content. Once again, the product team blogged about this back in April, but we've seen the pace of change increasing over the year, including last month's addition of Praise, Favorites, and enhanced content creation capability. I expect we'll see more advances over the next few months as we await SP2016 RTM.
If you are not yet registered for CollabTalk, be sure to sign up at http://www.itunity.com/CollabTalk. You may not be able to attend every webisode, but by signing up you'll be added to our mailing list for all future shows, and receive links to the webisode recordings. Be sure to add our next show on December 16th at 10am PST to your calendar, as we'll be discussing some of our predictions for 2016, as well as any announcements from the product team between now and then.